Through the process of
the child is learning the importance of a process. In the Montessori environment when a child polishes or cleans up a mess, they are doing so to internalize the process.
The shiny, clean leaf is beautiful because it was made by a child who put all of his effort into polishing in the way that felt best to him.
The purpose of the activity is not to ensure that there are plenty of beautiful polished leaves all over the room, the purpose is that the child is developing focus, fine motor skills, a sense of order, and that they are going through a process. They are satisfied by the act, the product itself is almost an afterthought to the child.
Focus, motor skills, order, and process are not tangible items. Therefore, it becomes very easy to ignore it and focus on the polished leaf instead. In our environment, we instead honor the child’s effort and concentration.